Microsoft founder and billionaire turned philanthropist Bill Gates recently laid to rest the long-time conspiracy theory that he owns some 80% of all U.S. farmland in his 11th appearance in an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session on Reddit.
What Happened: Gates, answering dozens of questions over the course of a few hours during the AMA, including: “Why are you buying up so much farmland, do you think this is a problem with billionaire wealth and how much you can disproportionally acquire?”
In response, he said, “I own less than 1/4000 of the farmland in the US. I have invested in these farms to make them more productive and create more jobs. There isn’t some grand scheme involved – in fact all these decisions are made by a professional investment team.”
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Last year, conspiracy theorists claimed that the Microsoft founder was buying up farmland in the U.S. in order to starve Americans for an unknown reason, Snopes said, after researchers said in April that the world was facing a potential food shortage as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to a 2022 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Agriculture Statistics Service, there are 895,300,000 acres of farmland in the U.S.
Gates owns roughly 242,000 acres, amounting to about 0.03% of the total.
To put it into perspective, if all of Gates’ land was in one place, it would cover about 25% of Rhode Island.
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This article originally appeared on Benzinga.com
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